Five Common Ways We Miscommunicate

Written by John Kuder

Table Of Contents

Hi, I’m John. I’m Connie. And we’re talking about the five ways common ways we miscommunicate. Oh you’re male, you know a lot about that! I do know a lot about that.

And so one of our themes in our work is the invisible obvious that we, we shine a light on. Things that are obvious and they’re… they’re so much in plain sight and so… they seem like not worth noticing that they become invisible. Yeah, like your car keys. Yeah, or shoes.

But in this case, it’s about language. So it’s really obvious that for us to communicate, we’ve got to be speaking the same language. If I’m speaking a language you don’t know, or vice versa. We’ve got problems. We’re not communicating. Now.

What’s a little maybe even more obvious, I think is that we could be speaking the same language but have words be using words that we have a different meaning attached to.

Either because, like, I can remember when I was a teenager, I used a couple of words, the slang words, that I didn’t really know the meaning of and I was surprised when I found the meaning. Did you get slapped? No, thankfully. But I felt foolish.

And so we can, you know, but we can… think we can have a particular meaning and think we know what we mean. We know what we mean. But we’re using a word differently than somebody else.

Well, like the Brits, who use, you know, call a hood a trunk or something like that. The boot. The trunk of the car is called the boot. Pants are your underwear and we can go on. Yeah, that’s a whole… that’s another video.

Okay, so the five ways… I got some notes here, I want to I want to hit on five different ways that that will, everybody will recognize but I don’t think we think about you know, or or, or maybe not enough. All right, go for it. Okay.

So jargon. Yeah. What do you think of as jargon? Jargon, there’s like pet words or, or, you know, we would call each other you know, different names. And, and, you know… I’m so glad we did this! Lovingly, but not necessarily good.

Actually, it’s technical terms. It’s specialized language for a particular field.
Oh, okay. Like engineers and yeah, or a trade. Oh, doctors would have their own jargon, and computer geeks? Compute…ohhhh.

Now you’re talking my language. I know, I know. Or social or cultural groups or occupations or professions. So, you know, any, any group of people that is, you know, has a very common… Insurance, or taxes. Oh, god, yes. Taxes.

Jargon. So it’s, it’s specialized terms that people outside that field probably don’t know or aren’t familiar with. Okay. So that’s, but that’s a that’s a way of miscommunication. Right? When you’re talking to somebody and they’re using those terms, and you don’t know them.

You know, like, well, the computer I can talk to the computer part you know, hard drive and RAM and ROM and so forth. And so you can get off the… off the reservation real fast.

Okay, Buzzwords. Second category is buzzwords. So buzzwords… this this is actually kind of kind of like jargon. It’s very, very close. It’s jargon that spread outside the original field. And people are using it to sound either smart, or where they’re just using it incorrectly. So social media, mostly?

I’ve got some examples here. “downsize”. Okay. “Cutting Edge”, “holistic”, ah, “paradigm”. Oh, “synergy”, “tipping point”. Ah, okay. “Offshoring”. So it’s they sound… they sound smart and they have a specific meaning. Right. But then they’re used beyond their… their field, to either to try to impress, mostly to try to impress. Okay.

Really closely related to buzzwords are acronyms. In fact, maybe might even be a sub category. Like FBI. FBI is an acronym IRS, you know, those are… CSI.We… we like shortcuts, right? Our brain like shortcuts. We like shortcuts. If we can say something in one word, instead of three, we want to do it. To sound smart?

Well, it’s easy, but it takes less time. It takes less effort, but the risk is that we also lose precision. Okay, I can understand that. And we lose accuracy and sometimes… often in communication, accuracy, being specific, really matters. And so, you know, if we’re, if it’s if it’s really, really habitual, you know, just we just say these things and never think about when we’re saying them or in the context that we’re saying. We, you know, we risk mis-communicating right. True. Cool.

Okay, so I don’t have a bunch of examples of acronyms. But I think, everybody does, you know? The fun one that I heard recently was the TPS report, and that was from that movie, the “Office Space”, and they used it the guy that was that character in Office Space is now on CSI. And I’m sorry, NCIS. Right. And he they were the writers worked it into the script. So that was, that was kind of fun. Yeah, so Okay, what else?

Next category: third category is euphemisms. Oh, that sounds dirty! Now that almost sounds like a buzzword. Right? Or jargon. It might be a psychological jargon. Oh, that’s another area where we’re jargon would be, you know, psychology and neuroscience and things like that would be there.

And then, because it’s involving behavior and in our… you know, it applies to so many people, we would tend to pull those things out. Okay, so anyway, yeah, what’s a euphemism? I’m going to read this directly.

It’s “a mild or indirect word or expression that’s substituted for one that’s considered to be too harsh or blunt, when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.”

So we talk about well, okay, “horizontally challenged” is a euphemism for being short. Okay. It’s trying to soften something. They used to say when we were…. when we were young… I don’t think they say it so much any more: “big boned”. And that was that was… that was always… I think everybody knows what that is, right?

“Between jobs”, right? Instead of unemployed. It’s trying to soften it right? “Not the sharpest pencil in the box.” Okay. So go drive in traffic.

Yeah, I should say all of these are even though we’re calling them you know, potential potential miscommunication. They are you know, various levels of miscommunication. We’re we’re all guilty we all use there’s no I don’t think there’s any way that that you know, watching this video or going through all this is gonna we’re just going to remove all this from our from our vocabulary and stop doing nothing. It’s not gonna happen, but we can be more intentional about it. And that’s, that’s the point. Okay, so now, now to the you know, the icing. It gets even better. So platitudes. I like that word! That’s one of those words I’ve heard and it’s another form of miscommunication. You hear a word, you hear it in context, and you think you know what it means but you couldn’t define it if your life depended on it. Is that like “bless your heart”? No, oh, no, I just think of it as well, like I said a word that… I don’t know how to say differently. Give me an example. Okay, example of a platitude. It’s something that’s that’s often quoted, and it’s supposed to be heavy meaning but it’s, it’s been it’s generally some sort of simple oversimplification, and it’s lost its meaning.

Okay, give me an example. Hit me with your best shot. Oh, that could be one!

“There’s no I in team”. Oh, yeah, I hate that one. Okay, it’s literally you know, when you spell the word team, there is not the letter “I” in it. So it’s truthful, so it sounds truthful. But everyone on a team is an individual and individuality and needs to be respected. So it really doesn’t mean anything.

Right. It doesn’t mean anything useful. “Good things come to those who wait.” Does that mean we should all just sit down and wait and do nothing and everything’s gonna be… things will get better? Ah

“Time heals all wounds.” Well. Not if you. You know, they use the example of, “What if you’ve lost a limb?” Time is not going to help.

So “it is what it is”. How popular is that? It was my mother’s favorite.

Yeah, I can make a case for that being a description of the need for acceptance, you know, to accept things that we can’t change. Okay. But it as it is, it is a platitude. Yeah, it is.

You know, “winners never quit.” “Quitters never win” is the other end of that. Yep, so these are platitudes, right when you hear some examples, and yeah, I love your response. They all like… they fall flat. Ewww!

They, they’re things that we know, we but we say them, you know, we they, they come off our tongue before we’ve caught ourselves. So (a platitude is) a trite, meaningless or prosaic statement that’s often used as a thought terminating cliché, and we’re coming back to that, but to to reduce social, emotional or cognitive unease.

In other words… that’s from Wikipedia, by the way, so you can look go to Wikipedia and see quite a bit. The so it’s like trying to (express), “I don’t like where this is going. Or I don’t want to talk about this anymore. So I’m gonna say something to just wrap it up.”

“It is what it is. Let’s don’t talk about that anymore.” Right. I mean, it’s, it’s just like the weather. You can’t do anything about it. Yeah, it’s some way of just kind of putting a period on that. Let’s… let’s move on. “C’est la vie!”

Yeah, don’t want to talk about it anymore. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

So one more baby. Okay, last one. Yes, cliché. Oh, okay. And cliches and platitudes. I think there’s a lot of overlap. But a cliché is something that is obviously a phrase, overused, often outside its original context. It might still be true, but it’s its original impact and meaning is lost by the by the transferring out of its original context.

So just because a phrase is a cliché doesn’t mean it’s not true. And just because it’s overused doesn’t make it explicitly a cliché. But again, an example some examples, “read between the lines”. That’s a cliché term. Clichés aren’t always words. Sometimes clichés are behaviors or images, like you know, you’ll see characters in, in movies and TV that are clichés, okay? Okay.

You know the Oh, yeah, cliche, but what was it? What was it the cigarettes back the cowboy was the cowboy Yeah. Think what can be said to be smoking but…

yeah, I don’t have a good list of cliche characters. Think of one but yeah, play your cards, right. It’s an uphill battle. Better safe than sorry. You can’t judge a book by its cover. That’s cliche as heck, I mean, low hanging fruit. Ignorance is bliss. So that’s a few examples.

And so we’ve got five different areas there. of potential miscommunication just by either the meaning has gotten lost and so it really don’t have much meaning.

Or, you know, going back to the the jargon and so forth; things that people either might not understand or might have different meanings for you know.

When we get to the acronyms, I mean, how many three letter combinations? Some acronyms… the same three letters are used in four or five different ways depending on the area that they’re used in, you know, yeah, so I can recall the female body inspector for FBI. Well, that famous t-shirt. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

So it’s just you know, we’re, again, the invisible obvious. How, how many of these things do we let slip out of our mouths that we just habitually that we haven’t thought about? If we just give it a little extra thought? You know, thinking about thinking that we might find a more appropriate or accurate way of saying things and actually communicate better?

Oh, so that’s the plan. Let’s let’s leave that one way. So Oh, it is what it is. How about we go to our website Kuder Consulting Group. kuderconsulting group.com is our website so please, come and visit us, especially if you are a family business, because our specialty is removing frustration from family businesses, whether it’s financial or interpersonal.

(Connie came from)13 generations. I don’t have as many. I was three but… yeah, but they were memorable.
I worked there…

And we look forward to meeting you. Thanks!

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